Tag Archives: green card

Israel’s undemocratic oath to democracy

10 Oct

Don’t usually wade into the mire of the Israeli-Palestinian crisis as I don’t live there and don’t really feel I have the right to pass judgement.

However, this latest call (click here for BBC report) for new immigrants to Israel to have to swear loyalty to Israel as a “Jewish and democratic state“, the “centrepiece” of far right-wing MK Avignor Lieberman’s Yisrael Beteinu electoral campaign in 2009, struck me as so depressingly theocratic and undemocratic in its very nature that I, as a Jew, can’t resist commenting.

In a country made up of a significant Muslim/Christian Arab minority (20%), it seems no less than petty-minded and inflammatory to demand of new immigrants such as “Palestinians married to Israelis who seek citizenship on the basis of family re-unification, foreign workers, and a few other special cases” (quoted from BBC report) to have to swear allegiance to the Jewishness of the state of Israel, rather than to a democracy made up of people from a full spectrum of religious and ethnic backgrounds.

Which other country around the world demands that you swear loyalty to the religion adhered to by the majority of its citizens when you immigrate? I certainly didn’t have to swear loyalty to the USA as a “Christian and democratic state” when I got my Green Card last year.

Why not just stick to loyalty to democracy and leave religion out of it?

That way you might actually live up to your claims of being a democratic state.

The immigration lottery

9 Dec

Good news for me – I’ve just been awarded my Green Card! – thank you very much President Obama for kindly accepting me as an “Resident Alien” in your land.

The whole process – that is, Immigrant Visa based on being “Alien Spouse” of an American citizen  – took around four months from start to finish and dare I say it, was relatively painless…

Once I had got through headache-inducing amounts of paperwork to produce, a surreal medical judging if I was fit and healthy enough to become American which involved me being forced to have an MMR jab, and the doctor checking I really was the sex I claimed to be (for the record, she concluded that I was indeed female), as well as handed over large wads of dollar bills, and finally, a not-very-scary interview at the US Embassy in London, hey presto, my Green Card application was deemed successful.

And now, I am free to live and work in the US for as long as I wish.

Strangely enough, at exactly the same time, I found out about a friend of a friend of a friend of mine (known hereafter as Woman X), who married a British citizen and immigrated to the UK  five years ago, but who is still waiting to be given her exact legal status. To date, all she’s been given is a permit allowing her leave to reside but NOT work in the UK. This was granted to her at the time she arrived in the country – when she was also required to HAND IN her passport from her country of origin.

And since then, there has been a resounding silence from the UK immigration authorities when any attempt at moving forward her case is made. This means that she has been passportless and unable to leave the country for the last five years (even, presumably, to go back to visit her family in her home country)  – as well as unable to get a job.

What is this apparent inequality all about? Surely two women requesting Spouse Immigrant Visas in order to live with their husbands in two similar Western countries would receive the same treatment, right?

WRONG.

Let me now give you the profile of the two women involved:

ME: White, European, emigrating from a Western ‘developed’ country – England, married to a White American/English/French man, immigrating to a Western, English-speaking country (the US).

WOMAN X: Black, African, emigrating from a ‘developing’ country – Zimbabwe, married to a White Englishman, immigrating to a Western, English-speaking country (the UK).

Need I say any more?

Disclaimer: I accept I do not know all the facts involved in the WOMAN X’s case, I am merely drawing conclusions based on the basic facts of the story.

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